senate Bill S3729

Limits certain charging practices by companies that provide prepaid telephone calling cards and increases fines for violations of limitation requirements

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 13 / Feb / 2013
    • REFERRED TO ENERGY AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS
  • 08 / Jan / 2014
    • REFERRED TO ENERGY AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Summary

Limits certain charging practices by companies that provide prepaid telephone calling cards and increases fines for violations of limitation requirements.

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Bill Details

Versions:
S3729
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Senate Energy And Telecommunications
Law Section:
Public Service Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §92-f, Pub Serv L

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S3729 REVISED MEMO 05/30/13

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public service law, in relation
to limiting certain charging practices by companies that provide
prepaid telephone calling cards and increasing fines for violations of
limitation requirements

PURPOSE: To enhance consumer protection in prepaid calling cards.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Creates a new subdivision 4-a of Section 92-F
of the public service law to prevent companies from:

-Calculating for usage charges by rounding up beyond the next minute.

-Charge for unconnected calls.

-Publicize a connection fee if there is a disconnection fee.

-The bill increases penalties for violations of the act.

JUSTIFICATION:

Calling cards are often used by new immigrants with families and
friends abroad and by friends and families of military personnel as a
means to make inexpensive phone calls overseas. Unfortunately, due to
unscrupulous practices many consumers get less than what they bargain
for. For instance, many calling card companies round up to the next 3
or even 5 minute increment, while others advertise that there is no
connection fee for a call, but then charge a disconnection fee.A study
by Consumer Reports helped to unveil some of the unscrupulous
practices that result in calling card consumers getting less than what
they bargained for. Among a few of their findings:

-Of the 130 calling cards purchased about three quarters of the cards
didn't disclose the proper rates.

-Many of the cards had unclear post-call fees, periodic fees, and
surcharges.

Other calling cards that did display fees or disclosure information
did so in font so small that a magnifying glass was needed.

This bill seeks to put an end to these problems by establishing fair
standards and enhancing the disclosure requirements so consumers have
a clear understanding of what they're getting when purchasing calling
cards.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

New bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

None to the State.

EFFECTIVE DATE:


This act shall take effect 120 days after it shall have become a law.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  3729

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            February 13, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen. SERRANO -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on  Energy  and  Telecommuni-
  cations

AN ACT to amend the public service  law, in relation to limiting certain
  charging practices by companies that provide prepaid telephone calling
  cards and increasing fines for violations of limitation requirements

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. Section 92-f of the public service law is amended by adding
a new subdivision 4-a to read as follows:
  4-A. NO COMPANY THAT PROVIDES PREPAID CALLING SERVICES THROUGH PREPAID
CALLING CARDS SHALL:
  A. CALCULATE USAGE CHARGES BY ROUNDING UP BEYOND THE NEXT  MINUTE  FOR
TELEPHONE PHONE CALLS;
  B.  CHARGE  MINUTES  FOR  UNCONNECTED TELEPHONE PHONE CALLS, INCLUDING
CALLS THAT ARE DROPPED OR TO WHICH THERE IS NO ANSWER OR A BUSY SIGNAL;
  C. PUBLICIZE OR  DISPLAY  ADVERTISEMENTS  STATING  THAT  THERE  IS  NO
CONNECTION  FEE  ASSOCIATED  WITH  A  PLAN OR CALLING CARD IF THERE IS A
DISCONNECTION FEE ASSOCIATED WITH THE PLAN OR CALLING CARD.
  S 2.  Subdivision 8 of section 92-f of  the  public  service  law,  as
added by chapter 651 of the laws of 1999, is amended to read as follows:
  8.  Enforcement.  The commission shall have the power, consistent with
federal law, to assess a penalty  not  to  exceed  [one]  FIVE  thousand
dollars  against  any  company  that  provides  prepaid calling cards or
services that knowingly fails or neglects to comply with  any  provision
of  this section or any regulation or order of the commission implement-
ing or enforcing the provisions of this section FOR  A  FIRST  VIOLATION
AND  TEN  THOUSAND  DOLLARS  FOR  A  SECOND OR SUBSEQUENT VIOLATION. All
moneys recovered from any administrative penalty shall be paid into  the
state treasury to the credit of the general fund.
  S  3.    This  act  shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day
after it shall have become a law.

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD00471-01-3

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